Say hello to Abacus, South Yarra’s newest resident. Located a few steps away from Prahran Market, the cafe-bar-restaurant hybrid aims to bring the best local ingredients to Chapel Street diners.
The venue’s tropical and relaxed atmosphere is in part thanks to owner, Dylan Whitmore. A local of Byron Bay, he wanted to bring a piece of his hometown to the space, and so recruited the team at Architect EATS to carry out his vision. They transformed what was once a bank building into a modern oasis: think an open kitchen; high ceilings with wood and concrete interiors and a seven-metre tall fig tree in the middle of the restaurant that’s sure to be lighting up Instagram feeds everywhere. This grand design is complemented by an equal focus on the little details: plates were designed by porcelain designer Studio Enti, and handcrafted by ceramicist Naomi Taplin.
Dylan has teamed up with Chris Connolly (ex-Top Paddock) to create an almost entirely traceable menu. Chris’ relationships with Victoria’s top farmers and producers, as well as his dedication to make as much in-house, takes diners on a unique culinary journey.
We’re not ones to ruin a surprise but the Abacus menu can only be described as gastronomical storytelling. If you’re by for breakfast, order the Cape Clear Rasher, a decadent dish that epitomises the restaurant’s entire ethos. With Cape Clear rashers, pig’s cheek, crackling, blonde sausage, chutney, eggs and toast, it is a journey on a plate: the chutney has been made in-house from stone fruit, the pig’s cheek has been slow-cooked for six hours and the blonde sausage is exclusively made by Sebastian Jurcan from Country Style Smallgoods.
But that’s not all. Need to satiate a sweet tooth? Sample the Insta-worthy Ganache Galettes, made with buckwheat and chia, and served with berries, clotted cream, saffron pear, Tim Tams and ganache. Pair it with a coffee, courtesy of Padre Coffee, for a memorable morning.
The focus on clean ingredients and modern Australian, Spanish and North African flavour influences continue throughout the day. Other daytime dishes include the avocado, with black beans, corn, pumpkin croquettes and a poached egg, as well as the smoked mackerel, with celeriac, potatoes, red cabbage and fennel tips. Every evening, pizzas become the star, made with house-milled flour and some of the best seasonal ingredients. Shared plates complete the dinner offering, ensuring you can try a little bit of everything.
The drinks list has a strong focus on local breweries and distilleries. With eight local beers on tap, an extensive local wine list, signature cocktails and all-time classics, Abacus could be considered a bar in its own right.
Luckily for the people of South Yarra, Dylan, Chris and the team have approached every element of hospitality with a fine-toothed comb, delivering a multi-faceted experience that delivers hour after hour. Capped off with a strong paddock-to-plate philosophy, it’s the ideal spot to satisfy your appetite for discovery.